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LX 90 EMC 8" SCT??

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#1 Brooklyn

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 04:28 AM

Greetings,

I recieved a 8" sct lx90emc a few years ago for my bday as a present but not really being interested in the hobby I allowed the telescope to stand there on its stand with no batteries, covered up for all the initial years.

Somehow i caught the astronomy bug and decided to make full use of the lx90 emc 8" sct.

I have checked the collimination of the sct on many dim and bright stars and objects, and in each scenario it offers a perfect circle...understandable since it has not been used at all for the past few years, it just stood there.

I do have a few questions concerning this and any of these telescopes that I have been unable to find out searching the site:

1) this model meade lx90 emc 8" sct does NOT come with a autostar handbox HOLDER. I am forced to lie it down on top of the RA lock in the middle. I contacted meade and they said they can send me one from them, but I was more interested in just ordering it online. Anyone know a site that would sell the meade autostar handbox holder?

2) What is a good product to clean this telescope and eyepieces lenses with? I have ordered the ZHUMMEL CLEANING KIT from telescopes.com. It features literally all the tools any of the cleaning guides have suggested, only concern is maybe that the cleaning solution itself might not be perfect.

3) what is a good eyepiece set for this particular telescope? I have called meade support many times and they ALWAYS say that you should get meade eyepieces over anyone elses no matter WHAT. I know, its total *BLEEP* but still thats what customer rep after rep told me on their service line. I still do not beleive it so I have ordered the zhummel 89 dollar "value" eyepiece and filter kit from the previous stated website. I know these eyepieces are probably not going to give me the most out of my scope, I was really just getting them for the good filters and a beat around eyepiece set =D.

What is the meade telescope owners best eyepiece brand?
- I am interested in Baader planetarium hyperion, SWAN, and Televue. The meade 5000 super plossls have been known to have grease on them in the eyeguard adjust mechanism. Perhaps this is a side effect of moving the company's production plant to mexico? could be :(

The short version:
Are there any particular other eyepieces/ barlows/ accessories anyone can suggest for me to get?

Also what is the best way to transport a telescope of this size from the house to the backyard and back?

So far i have been carrying the telescope as 1 piece, not detaching the stand from the tube and goto bars...HOWEVER, I have somehow managed to detach the number-scale ring that surrounds the horizontal cylinder of the base of the telescope by accident on one of my movings!! It shows the RA that the telescope is pointing to, but now that its loose and can be spinned around, what can be done? Note that the number ring is attached all the way around to itself so it cannot be removed without ripping it, but still it can be spinned around now.

Any and every comment is appreciated. ;)

#2 Joad

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 10:42 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Brooklyn. I can't answer all of your questions, but as someone who has a Meade LX10 with the identical optics that yours has, I can answer some of them.

2. Cleaning kit. The top guru on all things Meade, Dr. Clay, advises sterile cotton balls and an alcohol solution for cleaning the corrector plate. I don't think you need a special kit. And do not remove your corrector to get to the mirror. Mirror coatings are much much more delicate than the corrector plate coatings. Also, the corrector plate must be placed just so in relation to the primary mirror: it can't be rotated.

3. Great news: your f/10, 2000mm focal length LX90 can make good use of any decent (ie., medium priced eyepiece). The brand is not important. Given the long focal length of your scope, eyepieces will produce high magnification. With an eight inch scope, 300X is probably about as high as you want to go. I do most of my viewing between 80X and 240X at my dark sky home. High price eps are optimized for "fast" Newtonians and refractors: they will be great on your SCT, but aren't necessary. Check the Eyepiece forum on CN for lots and lots and lots of eyepiece advice.

I recently got a low-priced Orion binoviewer and am very glad I did. It makes the SCT a stunner on the moon; really improves double star viewing; and is great for Jupiter and Saturn. It dims the view for galaxies and nebulae and globular clusters and so isn't so good for them.

I carry my LX10 around completely assembled, putting the edge of the equatorial wedge on my shoulder. That's a nice thing about the 8 inch size: it is quite portable. The LX90 doesn't have the wedge so might be harder to lug around.

#3 KimB

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 01:56 PM

The azimuth scale around the base should be able to turn but I don't think it should spin. Possibly something has come loose in the base. Have a look at this web site LX90 Base disassembly It appears that the bit that holds the two halves of the base together is the plug/flange under the battery cover. I've never had the base apart on mine so I can't advise how easy it is to do.

#4 LLEEGE

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 01:59 PM

Welcome aboard Brooklyn. I echo Joad's comments. Also, cleaning of the corrector is not recommended unless it is dirty enough to effect your views. A good bulb type blower to keep dust off is a good idea. As to the HB holder, I have a spare one lying around I don't need. You are welcome to it if you'd like. Just PM me your address.

#5 LLEEGE

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 02:00 PM

PS:
I use to have that same scope. Nice little package. It got me hooked!

#6 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 07:24 PM

Well I have an LX90 8" LNT-- here is my recommendation for must have accessories:

1. Outside power source -- don't use the C cell batteries.
2. Dew Shield
3. Dew Heater if you are in a high dew area--
4. Red flashlight
5. bubble level
6. Compass
7. 9mm 20mm and 35mm (or larger) eyepieces GSO Superviews work fine for starters-- maybe a TMB planetary in 8mm or 9mm
8. Dielectric diagonal
9. Cleaning kit --- the eyeglass cleaning kits work fine for your eyepieces..... plus a brush.
10. Carrying case for the scope
11. Weight rail and weights for balance
12. Telrad along with the regular finder.
13. A case for your eyepieces-- and plastic bolt cases.
14. Firmware upgrade cable
15. 12volt cigarette lighter cable
16. Bob's Knobs for easy collimation
17. Spare hand controller cable-- the one you have WILL break sooner or later
18. a 2X Barlow

Transport is easy-- break it down into two pieces scope and tripod and carry it outside using the handles.

OH! almost forgot a moon filter --- and later a ultra contrast filter for certain dim fuzzies.

Clear Skies--

#7 Knuklhdastrnmr

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 09:23 PM

Hello Brooklyn, welcome to Cloudy Nights. I have the same scope

[quote name="Brooklyn"]1) this model meade lx90 emc 8" sct does NOT come with a autostar handbox HOLDER. I am forced to lie it down on top of the RA lock in the middle. I contacted meade and they said they can send me one from them, but I was more interested in just ordering it online. Anyone know a site that would sell the meade autostar handbox holder?[/quote]

There are several options for solving this.

A. velcro, a patch on the back of the handbox and the mate on the outside of one or both fork arms. This is a very inexpensive, easy and very effective fix.

B. Meade has a friction grip holder that attaches to the handles. I haven't seen them on any of the store sites. This is probably what they are talking about sending to you. I actually prefer the velcro solution over this. I don't use mine often.

C. Some of the on line stores have what is called a locator plate. It helps to center the base on the tripod at set up. Mine has holes for 1 1/4 eyepieces and three slots that hold the handbox. The down side to this is that near the zenith some diagonal and eyepiece combinations can bind on tall eyepieces in the locator plate. That's not good.

I prefer the velcro solution among the three.
[quote]
2) What is a good product to clean this telescope and eyepieces lenses with? I have ordered the ZHUMMEL CLEANING KIT from telescopes.com. It features literally all the tools any of the cleaning guides have suggested, only concern is maybe that the cleaning solution itself might not be perfect.[/quote] I haven't cleaned my optics yet. I'm reluctant to clean them. The UHTC coating for example is about a moelcule thick. I subscribe to the theory that optics should be cleaned as a last resort. A lot of dust on the corrector doesn't reduce your view. If you do anything use compressed air to lightly blow dust away.
[quote]
3) what is a good eyepiece set for this particular telescope? I have called meade support many times and they ALWAYS say that you should get meade eyepieces over anyone elses no matter WHAT. I know, its total *BLEEP* but still thats what customer rep after rep told me on their service line. I still do not beleive it so I have ordered the zhummel 89 dollar "value" eyepiece and filter kit from the previous stated website. I know these eyepieces are probably not going to give me the most out of my scope, I was really just getting them for the good filters and a beat around eyepiece set =D.
What is the meade telescope owners best eyepiece brand?
- I am interested in Baader planetarium hyperion, SWAN, and Televue. The meade 5000 super plossls have been known to have grease on them in the eyeguard adjust mechanism. Perhaps this is a side effect of moving the company's production plant to mexico? could be :(

The short version:
Are there any particular other eyepieces/ barlows/ accessories anyone can suggest for me to get?
[/quote]
[/quote]
Al Nagler has a set of three televue eyepieces that he recommends for this size SCT. It's on the Televue site. I went with that about a year ago and have been very happy. They were a bit expensive, but worth it. However, I also have no complaints about the Meade plossl that came with my scope[quote]

Also what is the best way to transport a telescope of this size from the house to the backyard and back?

So far i have been carrying the telescope as 1 piece, not detaching the stand from the tube and goto bars...HOWEVER, I have somehow managed to detach the number-scale ring that surrounds the horizontal cylinder of the base of the telescope by accident on one of my movings!! It shows the RA that the telescope is pointing to, but now that its loose and can be spinned around, what can be done? Note that the number ring is attached all the way around to itself so it cannot be removed without ripping it, but still it can be spinned around now.
[/quote] It's supposed to turn. When I find North by centering Polaris in the eyepiece, I mark the location by turning the RA scale so that 0 is at the index mark engraved in the upper base and use a piece of electrical tape to hold it. If I lose alignment in the session, I simply reset to the index and realign. It's quick and easy.
[quote]

Any and every comment is appreciated. ;) [/quote]

#8 Brooklyn

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 09:23 PM

First off let me say how shocked and in awe i am with both the quality and speed of the responses on this forum.

I participate on many forums on the internet ranging through many hobbies and this one seems to be the best i have yet encountered.

Note, i am located in central new jersey and as such Dew is not much of a problem. Only contaminants i can see with the flash light test are dust and finger prints.

I have ordered the zhummel cleaning kit from telescopes.com which comes with ALL pieces needed to do any dusting/cleaning.

In response to KimB: You have hit the nail on the head here. It is only the paper made number scale that turns around the base, however the base itself is solid as a rock. Judging from your reponse saying that the paperish number scale should be able to rotate around the base, then nothing is wrong. If this is the case then i have nothing to worry about as its not broken. :)


in response to LLEEGE: "Welcome aboard Brooklyn. I echo Joad's comments. Also, cleaning of the corrector is not recommended unless it is dirty enough to effect your views. A good bulb type blower to keep dust off is a good idea. As to the HB holder, I have a spare one lying around I don't need. You are welcome to it if you'd like. Just PM me your address."

- this is the nicest thing any stranger has ever offered me over the internet!! I dont even know what to say, im surprised by your hospitality. :)

If you indeed have the same handbox holder that grips around the handbox and the arm handle on the telescope, i will gladly pay you 2x or 3x the cost of shipping. The newer model LX90s come with this seperate handbox holder, but the older ones which i have do not.

I called meade to see if i can buy a handbox holder, and they are asking 10 dollars for it w/ probably another 5 for shipping and handling. Ill send you a PM in a bit, as i would much rather help out a fellow hobbyist than give more useless money to meade.

Once again, thank you guys so much for taking the time to respond. It is greatly appreciated.

#9 Brooklyn

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 09:47 PM

Thank you for the excellent response knuklhdastnmr!

"A. velcro, a patch on the back of the handbox and the mate on the outside of one or both fork arms. This is a very inexpensive, easy and very effective fix."

-This was my initial idea but i wondered if perhaps there was a better option. Should I decide not to get option B, then i shall definitely opt to attach it by this method.

B. Meade has a friction grip holder that attaches to the handles. I haven't seen them on any of the store sites. This is probably what they are talking about sending to you. I actually prefer the velcro solution over this. I don't use mine often.

- 100% accurate. This is the autostar handbox holder that comes with the newer lx90 models. This is probably the same extra holder that an above poster is offering to send me.

" I haven't cleaned my optics yet. I'm reluctant to clean them. The UHTC coating for example is about a moelcule thick. I subscribe to the theory that optics should be cleaned as a last resort. A lot of dust on the corrector doesn't reduce your view. If you do anything use compressed air to lightly blow dust away. "

- I definately should have made myself more clear. I DO NOT have any intention of disassembling the telescope. I will ONLY clean the eyepiece lens closest to the eye, and the telescope lens farthest from the eyepiece, facing the object being observed. (corrector lens)?? not sure what it is called. Otherwise I have not used the telescope enough, nor has it been outdoors long enough to have any traces of dust on the internal optics.

" It's supposed to turn. When I find North by centering Polaris in the eyepiece, I mark the location by turning the RA scale so that 0 is at the index mark engraved in the upper base and use a piece of electrical tape to hold it. If I lose alignment in the session, I simply reset to the index and realign. It's quick and easy."

- Oh thank you!! This is exactly the confirmation I was looking for. A previous poster stated that the RA number tape can be rotated around the base, but I had not known about this until AFTER my sweaty hand stuck to it and rotated it while moving the telescope back inside after a few hours off viewing.

Thanks for the great response, however I have one new question based on all this new information:

Considering the fact that this telescope uses Autostar 1 and is an older model, the firmware controlling this SCT is definitely outdated compared to the newer available firmware updates.

Realistically and practically speaking....should I buy the optional firmware upgrade wire from meade? Will this provide any VISIBLE auto star tracking benefits? I ask this because the star and planet catalogue has barely changed over the past 10 years.

Also, someone has suggested that I use the optional power supply wire instead of the 8 C batteries. What are the advantages of this power supply aside from not having to change batteries? I buy 8 shoprite C class batteries for 6 dollars and 50 cents, so it is quite cheap. Are there any benefits in performance to using the constant power supply wire?

#10 Knuklhdastrnmr

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:02 PM

In regard to cleaning, I wasn't talking about disassembling anything. I'd try not to touch the corrector plate with anything more than compressed air. I haven't cleaned my eyepieces either. I just keep my fingers away from the glass. I'd be inclined to do the same with them, just air. Others may be able to give you better advice on that though.

I'm not sure of what you're asking about in regard to "optional firmware upgrade wire from Meade." If you mean the cable that connects the port in the base of the handbox to the nine pin connection on the back of your laptop, I think that is something you need to get from Meade. They do some unusual wiring. Mine came with a DSI, I think. The Autostar upgrades from Meade's site are a good idea. The catalog hasn't changed much and I'm not much into emphemera. But the upgrades also affect the way the software works and for the most part are improvements. I think there was glitch in the next to most recent. It seemed to think Deneb was west of the zenith when I could see quite clearly that it was east. Centered everything else though. I concluded the software just had the wrong coordinates for Deneb. The current Autostar version is 5 and for the for the #497 handbox, it's 40e, I think. The current update for the handbox is now more than a year old though. I find that a little odd.

I have always used the batteries. They have operated the scope very well. I don't have to replace them very often. I often take my scope to star parties where AC is not readily available. I haven't seen the need for the AC adapter. If I were trying to quide long exposures, I might think differently. Others may have an answer to that.

#11 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 08:44 AM

The proper firmware cables can be bought from Meade or online from several sources like www.scopestuff.com -- and yes the firmware update corrects bugs --- mine has the latest upgrade which for my LX90 8" LNT is 43Eg version. You will also need the Autostar Suite installed to upgrade the hand controller.

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_sma2.htm here is the upgrade cable--

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_ps12.htm here is the 110volt power pack

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_cig1.htm here is the 12volt battery cable or "car" cigarette lighter cable

The hand controller does not like fluctuating power supplies-- hence an outside battery pack provides more consistent power to the scope than the internal C cells-- since I do a lot of public observing -- I carry 8 batteries just in case the outside power pack goes out (as backup)-- I have the Celestron power pack-- like this one--
http://www.astromart...p?article_id=87

Clear Skies-
Joe

#12 Brooklyn

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:53 PM

You guys are amazing, thanks for taking the time to post these helpful links.

#13 gillmj24

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 08:30 PM

Take a picture of the corrector plate we'l be the judge if it needs cleaing, usually it is better not to. If you are in brooklyn I can even help you I go on the belt parkway to nassau county very frequently.

#14 Brooklyn

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 03:58 PM

Wow thats quite a generous offer :)

But i live in new jersey now, monmouth county.

Lived in bk for 9 years b4 that.

#15 Asturies

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 10:15 PM

AN LX90 8" FOR YEARS IN A CORNER GETTING DUST UNUSED!!! Bad boy!! :bawling:
Now seriously, if you are going to clean the corrector plate at last (think it twice and then don't do it, it's my advise) be very sure that any drop of liquid is going to sneak in through the edge of the corrector to the other side of it, then you should dismantle the corrector plate.
And as Joseph Gillman said, send an image for people here to see if it is really worth the cleaning.

Regards and wellcome to CN, Fernando

#16 Brooklyn

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 10:52 PM

AN LX90 8" FOR YEARS IN A CORNER GETTING DUST UNUSED!!! Bad boy!! :bawling:
Now seriously, if you are going to clean the corrector plate at last (think it twice and then don't do it, it's my advise) be very sure that any drop of liquid is going to sneak in through the edge of the corrector to the other side of it, then you should dismantle the corrector plate.
And as Joseph Gillman said, send an image for people here to see if it is really worth the cleaning.

Regards and wellcome to CN, Fernando


Yep after reading all the great advice here ive decided to not clean it after all. I dont think i need to even send a picture and waste your guys' time with it. You have all done more than enough for me. :)

#17 Asturies

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 09:09 AM

Wise decision!

When I was in the German-Spanish observatory of Calar Alto, Almería, Spain the mirror was dusty as you couldn't imagine, so I asked the telescope operator if they didn't clean it and they said that some times the had even tiny birds, uh, "drops" (I don't know how to call them without breakin the forum rules :grin:).
They just "aluminize" the mirror every year and a half and that was all, (you can see it in my web)
I tell you, that mirror was really dirty when you got close to it.

Regards, Fernando






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